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DePuy Hip Replacements: FDA Takes Closer Look

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on February 14, 2011 5:47 AM

Hip replacement surgery is a dangerous prospect, but for those who added all-metal hips to the procedure, the risk got even bigger.

Last August, all recipients of a DePuy hip were notified that the company was voluntarily recalling its all-metal hips. Countless people who had received a DePuy hip were in need of revision surgery, which is just as risky as the first procedure. The all-metal hips were experiencing a 13% failure rate despite the fact that they should have lasted approximately 15 years.

In the wake of the recall, lawsuits have been filed by revision patients and others experiencing pain as a result of their DePuy hip. The Food and Drug Administration is now investigating, and has posted a set of web pages to inform the public about the risk posed to those who received a DePuy hip replacement. It also lists symptoms that patients should watch for.

All-metal hips differ from other hips in that they contain no rubber or silicone. If installed incorrectly, or if they fail, the metal surfaces of the ball joint scrape against one another, releasing metal particles. These particles can cause inflammation, pain, bone loss, tissue death, and metal poisoning. The hips must be replaced.

DePuy hip replacement recipients have recourse. Manufacturers may be held liable for product defects and malfunctions if they are the result of negligence and could have been prevented. Some experts believe that the injuries caused by the DePuy hip could have been prevented if they had been properly tested before use. This allegation is most likely at the center of the FDA's investigation.

Reportedly, DePuy has agreed to cover the costs of monitoring and treatment for those who received the all-metal hip. If you or someone you know has received a DePuy hip, it would be wise to consult a products liability lawyer to find out if you're entitled to more compensation. As the FDA investigates, the evidence will only grow.

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